Alan Robert Burns


Areas of Practice

  • Municipal Law


  • Pepperdine University (J.D. 1976, Pepperdine Law Review)
  • California State University, Fullerton (B.A. 1973)

Memberships / Admissions

  • “AV”-Rated, Martindale-Hubbell
  • State Bar of California
  • U.S. Dist. Court, Central Dist. of CA, 9th Civ Court of Appeals, US Supreme Court
  • League of California Cities (State Legal Adv. Comm.,1989 – 1991)
  • Orange County City Attorneys Assn.
  • California Assn. of Sanitation Agencies
  • Kiwanis (Hixson Fellow)
  • Assn. of Former Intelligence Officers
  • U.S. Army (1969 – 1971)

Contact Details


From the beginning of his career in 1976 to the present, Mr. Burns has represented public agencies. Mr. Burns serves as General Counsel to the Home Gardens Sanitary District since 1977 and, from 1982-2015, served as City Attorney for the City of Fountain Valley. Mr. Burns serves as General Counsel to the Orange County Mosquito and Vector Control District since 1988 and General Counsel to the Costa Mesa Sanitary District since 1994. Mr. Burns has rendered special counsel services on behalf of the cities of Anaheim, Colton, Huntington Beach, Garden Grove, Grand Terrace, La Habra Heights, La Palma, Laguna Niguel, Lake Elsinore, Los Alamitos, Newport Beach, Norco, Rancho Santa Margarita, Redondo Beach, San Clemente, Stanton, Tustin, and served as interim City Attorney for the City of Orange. Mr. Burns has also rendered special counsel services to a number of school districts and other special districts. He served as President of the Orange County City Attorneys Association in 1988. Mr. Burns is rated “AV” by Martindale-Hubbell.

Mr. Burns’ extensive experience in litigation, land use and planning, due process and administrative hearings, environmental law, risk management, general plans, real estate, sanitation, public works construction disputes, and other related law has spanned the course of forty years. Examples of a successful court record include obtaining abatement orders shutting down a drug house, successfully defending writs of mandate (over 30) including employee terminations, massage parlor closures, bar nuisance closures, defense of M.O.U. provisions, and disputes between government agencies. Mr. Burns has also successfully initiated CEQA litigation on behalf of the City against other government entities. He has defended police officers in civil trials and made law in appellate cases. He has also initiated and defended elections challenges.

Mr. Burns has been a presenter for the League of California Cities on CUP revocation has successfully defended and prosecuted land use lawsuits, both criminal and civil.

Summary of Experience

  • Provided hearing officer services for City of Redondo Beach on $72 Million tax dispute with an energy company
  • Prosecuted code enforcement cases for the City of Colton related to a problem bar and a junkyard
  • Advised the Newport Beach Planning Commission on the revocation of two problem businesses
  • Successfully litigated a design case against a landscape architect for a major park project resulting in a settlement in favor of the City of Fountain Valley for about $400,000; and litigated a favorable design case involving architectural and construction issues resulting in a settlement of over $1,000,000
  • Testified before the Assembly and State Senate to have the “massage law” changed (AB 15) in 2002 so that prostitutes/masseuses could not operate as independent contractors for chiropractors
  • Successfully prosecuted numerous massage parlors and masseuses
  • Served as hearing officer for other cities on massage issues, presiding over the “cleanup” of Newport Beach resulting in at least a dozen closures
  • Established the law of the respective rights of cities and special districts (Home Gardens Sanitary District v. City of Corona)
  • Successfully brought CEQA actions to stop school district building until environmental impacts were considered (Fountain Valley v. Vista View School)
  • Closed Sam’s Liquor over sales of liquor to minors (CUP revocation and defended writ of mandate)
  • Successfully litigated a public works case over the public library construction with a million dollars at stake
  • Closed Music City Dance Hall over nuisance conditions (CUP revocation)
  • Fully involved with negotiating trash franchise contracts with (1994)
  • Involved as advisor to the hearing officer for numerous police employee cases
  • Established the law on conditional use permit revocations (Goat Hill Tavern v. City of Costa Mesa)
  • Successfully litigated a telemetry system public works case against a major electrical contractor for defective design resulting in over $200,000 being paid to the city
  • President of Orange County City Attorneys Association (1988)
  • Served on the League of California Cities’ Legal Advocacy Committee
  • Litigated Orange County’s first drug house abatement trial (People v. Culver) which resulted in a sign being placed on the drug house door warning any person approaching the residence that the house was under court order and increased penalties would apply. (This effectively ended a problem for an entire neighborhood.)
  • Tried case to jury exonerating Vector officials who were sued for assault
  • Handled scores of Pitchess motions
  • Established the law on peace officer hearing rights (Fountain Valley v. Parker)
  • Served as Deputy City Attorney for the Cities of Tustin, Norco, Lake Elsinore, and Grand Terrace
  • Interim City Attorney of Orange (1996 - 1997)